« PreviousContinue »
ing in reference to persecution, distress and loss of life for the cause of religion, the disciples might have concluded, that, in view of the infuriated state of the world, all would soon fall victims to persecution and death, as well as Christ himself; but he intimates, that this shall not be the case, for some of them should not die before they would witness the triumph of this kingdom, its extension and establishment, and the people become persuaded, that Christ directs, controls and imparts divine power to its principles ; therefore, the folly for men to oppose and attempt to destroy it.
We know of no other consistent way to explicate this Scripture, and to us it appears entirely satisfactory and conclusive. If it has dispersed all doubt and obscurity from the mind of the reader, we are prepared to state some direct proof of a future and general Judgment. . .
1. The Judgment will be literal and not a mere feint all figure and metaphor-the appearance and not the reality.
The Judgment, which shall investigate the character and determine the destiny of the children of men, will be a real transaction. There will be a Judge, an assembled world, a scrutiny of human character, and appointment of the destiny of each individual. That metaphors and highwrought figures are employed to describe the scenes and transactions of that. Day, is undeniable ; and instead of
lessening the reality, they are used to heighten the majesty · and the more graphically to describe the substance of all catastrophes. No language and powers of description are adequate to the task, but those of inspiration and of God. Instead of the Judgment being a mere spiritual affair, it will be invested with dread reality, and all the natural attendant circumstances shall constitute it, a day of wonders, and unprecedented in the annals of time.
To prove the literal occurrence of the Judgment, we need but appeal to the apostle Peter, for he amply sustains this doctrine in his second epistle and in the third chapter, where he records a comparison between the Flood and the Judgment. Though infidels scoff and deride the promise of the coming of the Lord, nevertheless it will be as certain, and as real, as the flood which swept the antediluvians from the face of the earth. It cannot be interpreted metaphorically, but the record of the moving scenes of the “ day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men,” must be understood as a literal description, in the words of prophecy, of the final destruction of this mundane system, and the closing of the mysteries of God upon earth. It is true, that some expositors of the word of God, refer the prophetical account to some awful earthly calamity; to Jerusalem, or some national affliction; and they introduce as parallels and confirmatory of their position the prophetical accounts of the destruction of Idumea, of Egypt, and of Jerusalem by the Romans. The highly figurative language there employed depicts awful catastrophes; but the very language shows that it is to be understood metaphorically. “ All the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll,” they shall fall as the falling leaf and fig from the fig tree; (Is. xxxiv. 4;) the stars, the sun and moon shall be darkened and be covered with a thick cloud, and they shall refuse their shining when Egypt shall become the monument of the wrath of God; (Ez. xxxii. 7 ;) the invasion of the land of Judea and the overthrow of Jerusalem, as prophesied by Joel, are couched in language sublime, moving and highly metaphorical. The approach of the Roman army is represented as causing the earth to quake before them and the heavens to tremble, the sun and moon lo throw around themselves the vesture of darkness, and the stars to refuse their shining ; (Joel ii. 10;) he will show wonders in the heavens above, and on earth, blood, fire, and pillars of ality as portrayed in lively colors by the unerring pen of inspiration.
smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord. (verses 30, 31.) Now all such descriptions are impossibilities when literally understood, or at least altogether improb. able ; and historical facts prove that there was no literal fulfillment of such language in the overthrow of the land of Idumea, therefore the language was to be understood figuratively. But this is not the case with the prophecy of Peter relative to the destruction of the elemental fabric of the earth, in the “day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” The comparison is between the Flood and the Judgment, as the former was a literal occurrence, so the latter will be—the earth was destroyed by a flood of water, but the heavens and the earth, that now are, are reserved to be burned with fervent heat. The heavens, or atmosphere shall pass away with a great noise, being decomposed, and the electric fires glowing and rolling their storming thunders around creation ; the elements of the earth and the works of men's hands shall melt as in a glowing furnace—thus after the heavens and the earth are dissolved, and have passed away, the Lord will reorganize a new heaven and a new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness. - As this earth, inclosed with the present atmosphere, contains sin, rebellion, pollution, and is trodden by an ungodly race; so the new earth, with the circumambient heavens, shall be the abode of truth, holiness and perennial happiness, and be ever pressed with the footsteps of a holy and sanctified people.
The comparisons drawn and the descriptions given, amply fortify the doctrine, that “ the day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men,” will be a literal and bona fide event—the event itself, the circumstances attending and the results experienced, will transpire in order, majesty and re
2. The Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men shall take place after the resurrection of the dead.
The final Judgment of God cannot take place during the administrations of grace and the moral government of Christ on earth. 1. This world is not the theatre of the equal and adequate distribution of justice to the children of men -the righteous are frequently the subjects of affliction, pain and adversity, while the wicked flourish and revel in prosperity; the most hardened and the vilest of the wicked have less compunction of conscience, and are less sensitive, than those who indulge in sin with some restraint and moderation. The Justice of God will demand an occasion to dispense rewards and punishments with an even hand, conspicuously and to the satisfaction of the Universe of intelligences. 2. In this world the character, works and influence of men cannot be adjusted, for much of what they have done on earth will exert an influence on mankind, long after they lie in the slumbers of death, for weal or wo. The influence of men of former generations is still sweeping down the current of time, laving its genial waters along the fruitful shores of life, or blasting the blooming flowers of bliss and saturating the moral atmosphere with a deadly miasma.A Judgment, at the end of time, and exercising exact and ultimate scrutiny over an assembled world, is indispensable. 3. The Scriptures represent the transactions of the Judgment as taking place at the end of the world and after the resurrection of the dead. The Bible represents individuals and nations, and people who had long before gone to the grave, as standing in the Judgment with men of other generations, consequently they must first be raised from the dominion of death before they can be judged.” “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah
in the day of judgment than for that city.” Matth. X. 15. “ It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than" for the city of Capernaum, xi. 23. 24. So also shall the Queen of Sheba and the men of Ninevah “rise up in the judgment to condemn this generation;" and in order to do so they must first arise from the dead, therefore the Judgment will be after the resurrection. (Luke xi. 31, 32.)
The world will be judged at an appointed time, and that time is represented as future, “ For God shall bring (not has and does bring) every work into judgment” (Ec. xii. 14,) "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” (2 Cor. v. 10.] Not we do all appear, but we must, which shows the Judgment to be in the future. Universalists say, that Christ became the Judge and Executor of God's moral government at the destruction of Jerusalem ; if so, then it must follow, either that Christ will not judge the world, and that there must have been two judges, one to judge the people before the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ to judge the people at that event and subsequently to the end of time; or else the Judgment is still future and will take place after the general resurrection. But Christ is represented as the Judge of the world. “He appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness.” Acts. xvii. 31. He shall judge him at the last day.” John xii. 48. “ In the day when God shall judge,” (Rom. ii. 16;) “ the judgment of the great day; (Jude vi ;) “to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2 Peter ii. 9.)
These Scriptures prove that there will be a final and general Judgment at the end of the world and subsequent to the general resurrection of the dead. This excludes the notion, from the category of Scriptural doctrines, that the judgment has been or runs parallel with time, and that every man is fully rewarded according to his works in the earth.